The Rubens

The Rubens

Not since last year's Splendour in the Grass has the “Top Pub” seen so many hipsters and gorgeous young things in town. Under and almost full moon, the waiting throngs spilled out onto the street in anticipation of the opening gig on The Ruben's tour. Just after 4pm that day the Beach Hotel had announced that tix sold out online, though there may be a small release of tickets on the door. The Beach Hotel seemed at its capacity, so those spare tickets must have been snapped up quickly, too.

We went into this gig with limited knowledge or experience of The Rubens except we'd heard the big wraps they'd been getting as 'the band of 2012' and that this was to be the 'gig of the year' at the Beach Hotel - announced on The Beach Hotel’s Facebook 2 days before the gig!

The night opened with Gold Coast band The Govs; a four piece from an hour north of The Bay. They started as a semi acoustic then morphed into electric with Coldplay-ish influences and a penchant for samples and shoe-gazer guitar. The sweet young things had already started to take up positions pressed up at the front of the stage ready for The Rubens.

The second support act from Melbourne, Oh Mercy, started their set as a two piece. They kicked off in the style of The Black Keys, with heavy drums courtesy of Rohan Sforcina and leftie guitarist/lead singer and front man Alexander Gow, who strutted his stuff a bit like Tim Rogers, or Bryan Ferry from his 'Love is the Drug' era. Simon Okely from WA ably supported Alexander and Rohan on guitar and bassist Eliza Lam; this foursome was tight and polished.

At the end of their set, Alexander announced that the band were taking a break after the tour to “breed horses or something”. In reality, they are heading overseas after playing at the Northcote Social Club in Melbourne on the 16th & 17th May.

The venue left an impact on Alexander as he noted the venue had chosen to leave the video screens on at the back of the room. Tongue in cheek, he explained that he enjoyed rock climbing on the TVs! It's beyond me why venues continue to do this at gigs, especially when all the punters in there are there for one see the band!

Everyone was excited about the upcoming Rubens set… the ladies' toilet queue was full of drinking gals engrossed in tweeting, facebooking, and texting. You can't blame them - what else is there to do in the toilet line?

After a quick change over and a test of the stage lights, the room went completely dark – the hip-hop theme music roared as the band took to the stage.

‘The Day You Went Away’ opened the set for this first date of the Australian tour for The Rubens. For the most part, the band stuck to tracks off their first release self-titled debut album. Standout songs were ‘Be Gone’; the ‘Best We Got’ which offered up some heavy crowd participation; and ‘I’ll Surely Die’. Ooh, ooh, ooh, I was enjoying this band!

At one point, The Rubens' frontman put down his guitar to suck on a beer, cementing his future rock god image, much to the delight of the predominantly female crowd.

A new track finished only 7 days ago. I didn't quite catch the title, but the lyrics included the lines, 'sleep for days, change my wicked ways, cut me loose'. The definitive crowd fave was ‘Lay it Down’. The band picked an audience member to join them on the “Beachie” stage and play the tambourine. One girl will have a very special one-off memory from this awesome performance – she was so ecstatic at being picked.

The final and sadly last song of their set was the brilliant ‘My Gun’. To our frustration and surprise, no encore was permitted and the thronging crowd was left disappointed but satiated with great The Rubens memories - the videos screens continued on well after the band left the stage as we all filtered out onto the moonlit streets of beautiful Byron. I am now officially a serious convert to The Rubens music.

These boys from Menangle will continue to go places (they’ve already supported Springsteen, The Black Keys, Barnsey, played Dubbo and toured OS) and with the guiding hand of local radio, we will see them make their further mark in the future of Australian indie rock. They have also just been announced on the super hot ticket “Splendour in Grass” for this year at Byron in July.

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